Posts tagged film/animation/video

Check it out: Hayley Morris 08 FAV made this mesmerizing music video for the Iron and Wine song Joy (off the new release Ghost on Ghost). She says the lyrics:

Deep inside the heart of this crazy mess,
I’m only calm when I get lost within your wilderness

inspired her to use the camera as the voice in the song – meaning she shows how the singer sees the world differently because of the woman he’s singing about.

Last week NPR’s music blog All Songs Considered featured Hayley’s video, noting that she created it by projecting handpainted watercolor animation into stop-motion desert landscapes. 

With Oscar-mania reaching a full frenzy leading up to the big day, anyone plugged into just about any device is likely to hear about Seth MacFarlane 95 FAV, if they haven’t already. The semi-“controversial” host of this year’s awards ceremony – who’s also a multitalented jokester-of-a-thousand voices – just may push the envelope on Sunday night, even in Hollywood.

When asked how he thought he’d do as the man of the hour (or two), he told ABC News he’ll probably stand out as the “most astonishingly dazzlingly mediocre” Oscar host in recent memory. (Or not. You’ll have to tune in to judge for yourself.)

p.s. Here’s hoping cinematographer Robert Richardson 79 FAV nabs another gold statue – this time for his work on Django Unchained.


Promised Controversy

Promised Land, the new film about fracking directed by Gus Van Sant 75 FAV, opened at the end of December and initially got more attention for addressing such a hot-potato issue than for how the film is made.

But this week’s New Yorker calls the film “heartfelt and clear-minded,” crediting Gus for being “good at the everyday stuff” and for not resorting to “magic” or “glowing light” to make his point.

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The New York Times noted that “Mr. Van Sant’s style of directing – watchful and low-key – puts character ahead of story, and the script invites the actors [including its star and co-writer Matt Damon] to be warm, funny and prickly.”

In this interview in Vanity Fair, Gus talks about working with Damon 15 years after first directing him in Goodwill Hunting. And when asked his “secret” to filming the successful open-mic scene of John Krasinski singing a Bruce Springsteen cover, he said, essentially: “Make it real.” 

Puppets on the Move

It seems there’s no stopping the puppets emanating from Providence’s Big Nazo Lab, a creature-making studio dreamed up by FAV alum and faculty member Erminio Pinque 83 IL

The founder of the internationally-known puppet troupe just returned from Turin, Italy, where he hosted a creature-making workshop at the VIEW Conference, a forum for graphic designers, animators and special effects professionals. There, Pinque demonstrated how the camera-ready (and easy-to-wear) Big Nazo costumes are influencing new media and filmmakers.

For instance, two puppets made by RISD students star in a music video shot for The Stepkids’ latest single Sweet Salvation. In the short, Pinque’s unearthly monsters bob, weave and eat human limbs while a scruffy frontman croons in the background.

Big Nazo is lending some of its imagination to the medical field, too. According to the Providence Journal, the puppet-designers made a custom “girth suit” to help train staff how to move patients safely.

What will Big Nazo’s spindly fingers get into next? We’re excited to find out!

Hollywood’s Man of the Hour

Between the release of Ted in July and the media frenzy leading up to it, the upcoming revival of Cosmos and anchoring this season’s premier of Saturday Night Live, the multitalented Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane 95 FAV seems essentially unstoppable. Next up for the master voice actor, singer and comedian: hosting the Oscars on February 24.

Chris Butler 03 FAV, COO of the web design and development firm Newfangled, recently published a new book about interactive design, The Strategic Web Designer. For all of us involved in the dynamic world of designing and publishing on the web, it provides conversational, helpful advice. Just another example of flexible RISD thinking making its mark in the ever-changing creative industries.

Chris Butler 03 FAV, COO of the web design and development firm Newfangled, recently published a new book about interactive design, The Strategic Web Designer. For all of us involved in the dynamic world of designing and publishing on the web, it provides conversational, helpful advice. Just another example of flexible RISD thinking making its mark in the ever-changing creative industries.

Between his stand-up comedy, his crooning, his chameleon-like voicing abilities, his TV production work and everything else he jams into his massively overloaded life, Seth MacFarlane 95 FAV definitely does have ADD – which is a wonderful thing, as this CBS Sunday Morning interview from yesterday affirms.

“What I enjoy are things that scare me a bit,” Seth notes in a nod to his RISD risk-taking roots. Next up on the scarey list: his first live action feature film, Ted, which opens on June 29.

Hollywood Calling

photo by Sandor Bodo for The Providence Journal

An article in yesterday’s Providence Journal looks at RISD’s Film/Animation/Video department, mostly through the lens of grads who are making it in Hollywood – people like Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson 79 FAV, Family Guy guy Seth MacFarlane 95 FAVThe Legend of Korra co-creator Michael DiMartino 96 FAV and a handful of others. Michael told the ProJo that at RISD he “really learned how to become a filmmaker and think about all parts of the process – storytelling, animation, sound, etc…. This gave me a big advantage once I started working in the animation industry.”

This Sunday, February 12 marks the birthday of the man who restitched a nation ripped apart by civil war: Abraham Lincoln.

In a haunting tribute to Lincoln, designer Adam Gault 99 FAV and illustrator Stefanie Augustine 99 IL created this 2010 animated video of the Gettysburg Address. If you grew up in a US school system, chances are you had to memorize some or all of the 300-word remarks now considered one of the greatest American speeches of all time. But with Gettysburg, Gault and Augustine do far more than jog grade-school memories. With stark images and gripping effects that suggest the fragile nature of democracy, they prove that design can breathe new life — and meaning — into centuries-old history.

Love Affair with Film

Director Gus Van Sant 75 FAV (Milk, Good Will HuntingFinding ForresterMy Own Private Idaho) is one of the groundbreaking filmmakers featured in The Story of Film: An Odysseyas the New York Times noted this week. 

Clocking in at a butt-numbing 15 hours, the documentary by Mark Cousins is an epic ode to the history of the medium showing at MoMA ’til right after Valentine’s Day.

HUGO Poised to Win Big

Last week HUGO, the Martin Scorsese film that relies on the behind-the-scenes talents of two RISD alumni, was nominated for a whopping 11 Academy Awards – the most of any movie this year. And yesterday CBS Sunday Morning ran a segment featuring the source of the story itself: author/illustrator Brian Selznick 88 IL.

In the segment, Brian talked about his fascination with automatons and shared sketches showing how he developed his Caldecott Medal-winning novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret (which inspired Scorsese to make the popular movie).

The piece complemented CBS’ interview with Scorsese, who has already pocketed a Golden Globe for best director after heeding his wife’s advice to consider making a movie based on Brian’s book.

In addition, our favorite cinematographer, the brilliant Robert Richardson 79 FAV, has earned his seventh Academy Award nomination for his work on HUGO, which was a 3D first for both him and Scorsese.